Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools

Press Release: ECPPS Board of Education

Message from the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education: The Board would like to share the following information with staff and the community to provide as much transparency, as allowed, with regard to the search for a superintendent.

The Elizabeth City/Pasquotank Board of Education is aware that there is much speculation and lack of understanding about the status of its current superintendent search and the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal from the process and resignation of Joanne Sanders, the former interim superintendent. In order to protect the integrity of the process and the Board itself, the board believes it is imperative to share some of the facts surrounding the search process.

As has been previously shared, Joanne Sanders was one of several finalists for the superintendent position after the first round of interviews. The second round of interviews was scheduled to take place on Thursday, April 4. On Thursday, March 28, she submitted her withdrawal from the process. She was asked by Board members to reconsider her withdrawal, but she chose not to continue. On April 4, she informed the Board by email that she had resigned and retired effective immediately, again despite requests by the board that she stay at least temporarily until a new interim could be chosen. Board members did not, individually or as a body, tell Joanne Sanders that she would not be hired or would receive anything less than fair and thorough consideration for the position. Rumors to the contrary are false and unfounded.

At no time prior to the second interviews on April 4 had the board decided which candidate to extend an offer to. That would have been premature and inappropriate. The purpose of the second interview was to review and gather additional information from the candidates prior to making a decision. Joanne Sanders was never asked to withdraw or resign from the process or from her position, nor was she told that any other candidate would be offered the position. Any information to the contrary is incorrect. In fact, she was encouraged to remain. As previously expressed, the Board greatly appreciates her excellent service in various positions over the years and over the last 8 months as interim superintendent. However, she has made the independent decision to withdraw from the search process and resign. The Board cannot change her voluntary decision.

The Board is very pleased and appreciative that Rhonda James-Davis agreed to serve as the interim superintendent without any advance notice. She has agreed to serve in this capacity until a permanent superintendent begins work.

The Board is continuing its quest to find an excellent new permanent superintendent. The Board encourages the public and staff to accept and respect Joanne Sanders' personal decision, as the Board must also do. Our new superintendent, whoever that will be, will need the strong support of the community and staff to work to continue moving our schools forward. Please enthusiastically join us in that endeavor. Our students and community deserve no less.